Entering the Lubbock city limits on U.S. Route 84, a driver is greeted by countless billboards for hotels, wineries, restaurants and more. The newest addition to this visual cacophony is a billboard proclaimed Lubbock to be “the friendliest city in America.”
The sign is part of a new marketing campaign by Reagor-Dykes Auto Group and McDougal Companies to promote Lubbock in a positive light, attract investors and out-of-town visitors, and build a stronger community.
“Even though we know the people here are great and this is a great community to raise a family in and work as a professional, if it doesn’t look like that to everybody else then it probably doesn’t look like that to the people that are already here,” said Joe Landin, the marketing director of Reagor-Dykes Auto Group. “So, really, the idea was to create something that said that Lubbock is progressive, that Lubbock is a great place.”
Landin said the marketing campaign is a business community effort. Other local business owners who support the statement lent a helping hand to make a promotional video.
“We decided to put our efforts together and kind of put the video together with people like us, people who love Lubbock rather than have someone from outside of here put something together and maybe really miss the message,” Landin said. “We just incorporated different aspects of what is going on in the city of Lubbock.”
The video, somewhat uplifting and nearly glorifying, shows many pan shots overlooking the city as well as faces of local people and business owners. It ends with a message: “Be a part of the vision, we’re going somewhere fast, we’re going together. Will you join us? – In Lubbock, Texas: the friendliest city in America.” The video has been distributed via social media and is to be broadcast in a 90-second commercial spot on local channels.
The video has been distributed via social media and is to be broadcast in a 90-second commercial spot on local channels.
“It [the video] is really to just take that image of Lubbock, the friendliest city in America,” Landin said, “and use Lubbock people and Lubbock businesses to help promote it.”
But is it? Is it really the friendliest city in America?
According to Texas Monthly, engineers from Vertaline, a software firm based in Western Ukraine, monitored tweets from cities in the United States to see who tweets “good morning” the most, and Lubbock won first place, making it seemingly one of the friendliest cities in the country.
On the other hand, Lubbock has the second highest violent crime rate in Texas with a rate of 658 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants, right behind Odessa, another West Texas town. In 2013, Lubbock ranked eighth in highest STD and STI rates in the state. Lubbock also consistently rates high in child abuse cases in Texas.
Melissa Hurley, a Texas Tech University graduate and resident of Denver, Colo., spent five years living in Lubbock and said she can see why people say it is the friendliest city.
“The people there are always helping one another whether it be at the grocery store or on the side of the road,” she said. “People are just always happy and helpful.”